Section 131(d) of the Constitution provides that “A person shall be
qualified for election to the office of President if- he has been
educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent.”
But what does it mean to have been educated up to at least school
certificate level or its equivalent? Section 318(1) is clear on this. It reads:
School Certificate or its equivalent means –
(a) a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II
Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or
(b) education up to Secondary School Certificate level; or
(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and
(1) Service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any
capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral
Commission for a minimum of ten years.
(11) Attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may
be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission
for periods totaling up to a minimum of one year.
(111) The ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the
English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National
(d) Any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National
Please observe the use of the conjunction “OR” in (a), (b) and (c).
What it means is that any of it will suffice. Buhari has a choice, to
rely on school certificate or its equivalent, or education up to
school certificate level. Here he need not present school
certificate, he need not even show that he sat for school certificate
examination, all he requires is evidence that he has been educated
up to school certificate level or its equivalent.
Letter from principal or school ID card will be enough to show he was so educated to that level. Buhari can also qualify by tendering Primary Six leaving Certificate or its equivalent AND evidence of public service like being a former head of State AND attendance of military courses and show that he can read and write in English language.
WHERE BUHARI DISQUALIFIED HIMSELF
If Buhari had left out the school certificate and sort to be qualified
under “its equivalent” provision, there would have been no issue.
All his military courses would have been sufficient as equivalent of
school certificate. All Buhari needed to have submitted to INEC
was equivalent of school certificate or evidence that he schooled
up to school certificate level. Buhari shot himself on the foot when
he sort to be qualified based on school certificate and not its
equivalent. In this case, “school certificate means nothing less
than SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE.
Buhari has therefore placed himself under a burden to produce the said Secondary School Certificate and it is not within the powers of INEC to qualify him under the provisions of the equivalent of school certificate, especially where Buhari did not seek to take benefit of such provisions.
Sorry. No data so far.
It will be worst for Buhari if he has no certificate or if the Army is
not in custody of his certificate. This because it is a criminal
offense to lie under oath. A person who submits false information
to INEC by the virtue of the Electoral Act is also disqualified. By
claiming to have Senior School certificate, Buhari has by his own
claim put the existence of the certificate in question.
It is not enough to say that the certificate is with the Army, he needs to supply full particulars of the certificate including his exam number, centre number and certificate number and the circumstances in
which the Army came to deprive him of his certificate. It also
appears that where a person seeks to be qualified for election on
the ground that he has Secondary School Certificate, affidavit
cannot stand in place of the certificate.
It is my opinion therefore that Buhari is disqualified under the Nigerian Constitution to contest for office of the president. I will be very disappointed in PDP if the party does not test this Buhari certificate issue in court.